The Seattle Seahawks’ prayer was answered late Monday night. The Green Bay Packers may pray they never have to play in a game with replacement officials on the field again.
Seattle beat Green Bay 14-12 on a disputed 24-yard touchdown pass as time expired at almost midnight.
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson threw the ball into a mob of players in the end zone and the pass appeared to have been intercepted by the Packers’ M.D. Jennings, who had both hands on the ball. Seattle’s Golden Tate reached in and also got a hand in the ball and players from both teams wrestled for possession.
One nearby official signalled touchdown at the same time another official indicated Green Bay had the ball and that he was calling a touchback.
After a replay review, the game officially ended 10 minutes later but only after both teams were brought back onto the field for the required extra point. Some Packers players were seen searching for their helmets to complete the game.
Referee Wayne Elliott told a pool reporter after the game that the play was ruled as a simultaneous possession that was confirmed by the replay official.
“They both possessed it,” Elliott said.
But TV replays also showed Seattle’s Tate also illegally shoved Green Bay’s Sam Shields out of the way before leaping to try to catch the pass.
Replacement officials are being used by the NFL during a labor dispute with the regular officials, who were locked out by the league in June. Even before Monday night’s game, the players’ union had called on the 32 team owners to end the lockout, saying it is compromising the integrity of the game.
“Don’t ask me a question about the officials,” Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy said after Monday’s game. “I’ve never seen anything like that in all my years in football.”
Packers guard T.J. Lang was more blunt, tweeting that the Packers were robbed “by the refs. Thanks NFL.”
The Packers got support from others on Twitter as well.
– Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman tweeted “These games are a joke.”
– NBA MVP LeBron James tweeted “I simply just LOVE the NFL too much to see these mistakes. I’m sick like I just played for the Packers”
– Wisconsin State Senator Jon Erpenbach tweeted NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s office phone number, saying in a separate tweet that if the ending Monday did not spark an end to the lockout “this season will be a joke.”
The bizarre finish overshadowed a four-sack performance by former University of Georgia player Chris Clemons, who now plays for the Seahawks. All four came in the first half, tying an NFL record.